Tuesday Night Gauging
CQPolitics looks at the five Republican-held seats that they see as the most competitive: Colorado, yup; Maine, sure; Minnesota, gotcha; New Hampshire, no doubt; and Ore- whoa- not Oregon but North Carolina. I think this is the first ranking by any national media outfit to rank North Carolina as a top five competitive seat or more vulnerable than Oregon. While this certainly has something to do with several high-profile Democrats taking a pass on a Senate challenge to Gordon Smith, this also speaks to Elizabeth Dole's vulnerability.
Wyoming: The Hill keys in on three names likely to be at the top of the list of potential successors to the late Craig Thomas, a list that is due in about two weeks:
A plethora of potential candidates, including former Assistant U.S. Attorney General Tom Sansonetti and former Sen. Alan Simpson’s (R-Wyo.) son, is making for a crowded field vying for three spots to be selected by the Republican state central committee during the next two weeks. ...Your guess here is as good as mine. I would be surprised if either major Party did any polling on what names would be strongest or weakest in a possible electoral defense of the seat next year. While a successor must be selected in short order, polling on it would come off as politicizing Thomas' passing.
A third name frequently mentioned is Randall Luthi, a former state House Speaker who early this year was appointed deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ...
Other names mentioned include state Sen. John Barrasso and several former Cubin primary opponents — state Sen. Cale Case, attorney Bruce Asay and retired Navy Capt. Bill Winney.
Nebraska: SSP diarist DaveSund passes on that Republican state AG Jon Bruning appears ready to formally announce his Senate campaign this Thursday, Chuck Hagel's plans be damned. Also, he offers that "rumblings of a potential Bob Kerrey Senate bid are getting stronger." SSP's James L. accurately assesses that the Nebraska Senate race "has the potential to be one of the quirkiest Senate races of the cycle." Quite true.
Idaho: Democratic former Congressman and current Senate candidate Larry LaRocco gave his third liveblog session of the trilogy, touching on public service, energy & environmental policy, health insurance, bringing broadband to rural areas, the minimum wage, and the cohesiveness of Western Dems. Another scintillating back-and-forth.
Could 2008 be the year of the former Lieutenant Governor candidate running for Senate? Alaska sees 2006 Lt. Gov. nominee Ethan Berkowitz considering a run. Idaho has 2006 Lt. Gov. nominee (and former Congressman) Larry LaRocco running for Senate. Kentucky sees 2003 Lt. Gov. nominee Charlie Owen cosnidering a bid. In South Carolina, the Guru would like to see 2006 Lt. Gov. nominee Robert Barber jump into the Senate race. There has also been speculation that former Lt. Gov. of Texas Ben Barnes has considered a Senate bid. It illustrates an interesting breeding ground for Senate candidates.